Understanding The Koshas in Yoga (Part Five): Ananadamaya Kosha (Your Bliss Body)

May 22, 2023 |

Ananadamaya Kosha

In the previous three articles we learned about the koshas as a system and looked at the first four koshas, annamaya kosha, pranamaya kosha, manomaya kosha and vijnanamaya kosha. If you haven’t had a chance to explore them yet, click here for the first article, here for the second article, here for the third and here for the fourth.

This brings us to anandamaya kosha – the bliss or joy body – the final layer covering consciousness.

Anandamaya kosha: bliss is the hallmark of your being

In yoga, bliss is a really interesting thing. Most of us think of bliss as something that arises in response to things in our environment – the feeling we have when we see a beautiful sunset or when we spend time with someone we love. Yoga disagrees! It says that bliss isn’t intrinsic to anything in our environment. If things were inherently blissful we’d be able to derive bliss (or joy) from things. Of course, we can’t.

We may experience bliss in nature or while we’re with someone we love but, from yoga’s perspective, those moments are just catalysts for an experience of something that’s already within us. Blissful moments are fleeting moments of ‘not wanting’. When you’re watching a sunset you don’t want to be anywhere else – you’re fully present – which is what allows you to momentarily touch upon the feeling of your true nature.

The feeling of your true nature is bliss.

Interestingly, yoga acknowledges that in addition to our impulse towards bliss, we also have an impulse towards freedom, and for each of us one will be stronger than the other. It says that whereas bliss is the experience of finding oneself, freedom is the experience of losing oneself, and anandamaya kosha is the conversation between the two.

So, on the one hand, anandamaya kosha is an experience of bliss. On the other hand, it’s the experience of transcending bliss.

What a beautiful tightrope to walk!

Finalising our discussion of the koshas

The purpose of the koshas is to show us different levels of interaction between consciousness and energy. The physical body is the densest layer of interaction but as we travel inwards through the other layers – our energy body, our mental and emotional body, our wisdom-based or intuitive body, and the part of us that is characterised by bliss – we experience a diminishing of the denseness of how energy is configured and a return to the subtly or purity of consciousness.

At each of these levels, consciousness has a different vehicle at its disposal. At the level of annamaya kosha, consciousness uses our body. At the level of pranamaya kosha it uses energy. At the level of manomaya kosha it uses the mind etc. As we move through the experience of each layer we find that it has a particular set of limitations and a particular set of opportunities.

You can think of the journey through the koshas as like the journey of a balloon rising. Initially energy is like a sandbag holding the balloon of consciousness down. But as our attachments to the denser levels of existence are broken the sandbags are removed, and the balloon, now free, is able to follow its natural course upwards into the spacious sky of consciousness.

Posted in BLOG

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.